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Church sign causes stir in small CA community

Photo credit:
Jennevieve Fong - Twitter

A Northern California church is getting some attention for having displayed a transphobic message on its lawn marquee this week.

The Trinity Bible Presbyterian Church in Weed, CA., posted the living meme which reads: "Bruce Jenner is still a man. Homosexuality is still a sin. The culture may change. The Bible does not."

It wasn't long before a group of people came out to protest the message and counter its mean spirit with one of acceptance. 

"Just a community effort to show that we actually care about all members of our community, regardless of orientation gender or other aspects of identity that make them unique," protestor Robyn Vandiver told KTVL.

Vandiver and others in the group want to use their voices as instruments to help those who don't feel they can be a part of the community because of their identities. 

"You never know who might not be out and public about it and be willing to share because of things like this," protestor Sophia Bullington said. "They might be scared."

Vandiver said at first she felt angry over the sign, but that has since turned to compassion. 

"I thought it was a poor use of religion," she explains. "But after thinking about it, I'm just trying to come to a level of acceptance and forgiveness."

The Trinity Bible Pastor Justin Hoke says he put up the sign and stands by its message. 

"It is not possible to preach the gospel in short pithy statements," Hoke wrote on his Facebook account. "I have used this sign for 7 years now to provoke reflection or make a strong point about a single truth. Such as this one: The culture does not determine truth God does."

The gathering of people is a response to the words on the sign, Vandiver admits, but it's not a protest, rather a message that she hopes extends to beyond Weed. 

"The way that people treat one another and the respect that they show or the hate that they show will have ramifications on individuals and families, throughout our community, as well as the world," Vandiver said.